Today the U.S. House is to vote on extending the payroll tax cut for working Americans and extending the federal unemployment benefits. Both are important measures to keep the nation’s economic momentum going.
Unfortunately, instead of paying for these efforts by a slight surtax on incomes over $1 million as proposed by Senate Democrats and supported by over 70% of the public, the GOP bill tries to pay for their $200 billion legislation through spending cuts.
Hospitals have already weighed in with their opposition to cuts that will affect them (and us in the form of higher healthcare costs) as reported in The Hill today.
The hospital provisions include a $10.6 billion cut to federal reimbursements for bad debts; a $6.8 billion cut to payments for hospital outpatient department evaluation and management services; a $4.1 billion cut to payments for hospitals that see a disproportionate share of people without insurance; and an extension of caps on therapy services to outpatient hospital settings, which saves the government another $1.7 billion. Hospitals only account for about 60 percent of federal reimbursements for bad debt
Another group closely associated with the GOP also should not be happy—the Tea Party. The House plan isn’t fully paid for. According to scoring by the Congressional Budget Office the “GOP bill would add $25.3 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years.”
The odd thing is that unlike the hospitals that have come out publicly against the GOP bill because of the cuts to their revenue, the Tea Party has been quiet. They might be working behind the scene to oppose the deficit spending in the bill but it sure would be nice to let the public hear that their principle of reducing the deficit applies to both parties.